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Great Wolf Lodge!

So, six adults, one four year old, and one six year old made the drive to the GWL on Friday. We were there until mid-afternoon yesterday.

Everyone had a good time except for....my SD, who is clearly a fun hater. Yes, I know, that is not very nice but...O.M.G.

We got there Friday night and everything was going really well.  We all got up Saturday to go to breakfast and the adults decided we should all go off campus to eat since it was going to cost $15 per person to eat at the Lodge. Enter fit #1 by SD.

We get to the waterpark when it opened at 9am. By 10:30am, she had thrown several screaming, crying temper tantrums.  To say that I was mortified does not begin to describe it.  Another couple was to meet us out there and I kindly requested they stay home.  We took her to the room at 11:30 to eat lunch (leftovers from the night before which was another issue) and put her to bed for a nap.

We all went back to the park at 3pm....between 3pm and 5pm when we left the park, she threw EIGHT screaming and carrying on temper tantrums.  These involved her not wanting to get wet, her bathing suit was too big (oh boy, this was a petty burr up my @ss, let me tell you), she didn't want to get her face wet and then she insisted we all go back to the room so she could play Leapster. I would like to point out - she played in the kiddie pool the entire time - we never forced any water slides on her - and my husband spent the entire time holding her hand and playing with her.  Finally, I had it. I put her life jacket on her, hotly informed her that a lot of people had spent a lot of money and time on this trip and that she was going to get into the water, plaster a smile on her face, and act appropriately because I was tired of feeling embarrased by her behavior.

The next day, she mostly hung out at the table, whining around about how she didn't want to be there.  We all ignored her and played on our own.

Needless to say, she will not be invited on future GWL trips or any trips with us at all. And while I understand water parks are not everyone's cup of tea (they are certainly not mine), SHE wanted to go there.  Crying because she was getting wet?  Um, hello. WATER PARK. She also kept going on and on about how her mom is taking her to Disney this fall. Good riddance!!!

Re: Great Wolf Lodge!

  • I would be LIVID.  I'm sorry she was unpleasant the entire time.  That's too much money to spend playing Leapster in the room. Ugh.
    Lilypie First Birthday tickers
  • That sounds horrific. I know how excited you guys were about this trip. 

    Are tantrums a normal part of her MO? Does she get what she wants from that typically?

     

     

      

  • image WendyToo:

    That sounds horrific. I know how excited you guys were about this trip. 

    Are tantrums a normal part of her MO? Does she get what she wants from that typically?

    Most heart breaking were the LOOKS on my poor husband's face during all of this. As you all know, we are all about making memories with her and that wasn't what he had in mind.

    As far as the tantrums....well, we are noticing more and more that if all the attention is not directly on her, then she will throw a fit. I posted around Thanksgiving about the fits she threw then.  The difference between her and the 4 year old were pretty amazing, socially.  The 4 year old is always with his parents and THEIR friends - he has this "been there, done that" attitude about everything, he is like a little adult. It is obvious that SD isn't very well socialized.  DH's friends would attempt a conversation with her and she would ignore them or walk off. It was so rude. In fact, one of my friends finally said "SD!  Pay attention when my husband talks to you."  So embarrassing.

    I would say, based on her behavior, her usually home life is about her, based on her world and she gets her way 100% of the time. That just isn't how it is going to be at our house and we are attempting to "train" her but man, it is tough.  It is just going to get worse as she gets older and I just wonder if we can even make a difference.

    God, she is going to be just like DH's sister, isn't she?

  • Is her mom open to working on these things with you guys at all? 

    I would say this is definitely far beyond the normal behavior for a six year old (acknowledging all kids test limits and have their awful behavior moments).

    So what consequence did she get / is she getting for her actions?  

    ETA: To be clear, I'm not judging you guys at all. This is an impossible situation and I'm not sure how I'd react at all.  

  • image WendyToo:

    Is her mom open to working on these things with you guys at all? 

    I would say this is definitely far beyond the normal behavior for a six year old (acknowledging all kids test limits and have their awful behavior moments).

    So what consequence did she get / is she getting for her actions?  

    ETA: To be clear, I'm not judging you guys at all. This is an impossible situation and I'm not sure how I'd react at all.  

    I don't feel judged, in fact, I figured some of you would blast me for getting onto her about how I reacted toward her @sshole behavior.

    As far as consequences...after the Thanksgiving episode, DH did send an email to the mother to ask if she was having the same issues, if SD had been spitting on others when she wasn't getting her way, etc and how she was dealing with them.  DH received no response. I will say, it seemed obvious that the mother had talked to her, based on SD's behavior the next visit.  I know she can't articulate it but I think she thinks that she can act however she want and that DH and I won't punish her or do anything about it because we don't want her to leave having a bad time.  After Thanksgiving, we determined that, yup, we weren't going to tolerate it anymore. This was really first time we have had a chance to put it in action.  Like I mentioned, after the eighth fit that afternoon, I got onto her about putting a smile on her face and bucking up and then the next day, we left her at the table to pout on her own while we all did our own thing. 

    The mother isn't really working with us at all.  Everytime DH comes to our house, we teach her how to tie her shoes....then she rolls in during our next visit wearing velcro again.  The girl is six and can't tie her own shoes.  We talked to the mother about her lisp (she gets her F and S's mixed up) and the mother's response is that all little kids go through this and there is nothing wrong.  Well, it is to the point to where we can barely understand her and she is SIX. And I am not sure how we say "Hey - quit going broke giving her everything she wants and get a life so that your whole life isn't wrapped up in doing what she wants." It is a crappy situation and I am not sure, really, what else we can do.  And, given all the sh!t that went on in the past, DH doesn't want a lot to do with the mother which is his own problem but I absolutely understand his side of things.

  • image +PuppyWuppy+:

    I don't feel judged, in fact, I figured some of you would blast me for getting onto her about how I reacted toward her @sshole behavior.

    Not at all! Being a mom is hard, and I can imagine being a step-mom is even harder. It's not your biological child AND you don't have any control as to what happens with that child when you're not there. 

    It's so disappointing when you plan a fun trip or day with your child and they act completely ridiculous. It's definitely happened to me plenty of times. I imagine us giggling and laughing and playing all day and then it ends up being the complete opposite. Sucks.

    I'm sorry the weekend wasn't what you were hoping :( 

    Has her mom ever taken her out of town to do something fun like this? Do you think the mom felt inferior when she found out you were going and then decided to plan the Disney trip? From what I remember you said SD was looking forward to Great Wolf, right?

  • Woooooow...my patience level went out the door while reading that, and you just provided a short synopsis of the trip. I remember as well that you were really excited about this trip, SD was really excited...and then this happens. Ugh.

    I hope the mom finds some way, some how, to meet you guys halfway with her. It seems like you take one step forward and four steps back [nothing against what you and your H have done - you two seem to be amazing dad and stepmom, but she's just not seeing that].

    [url=http://charmedkindoflife.blogspot.com/].:.Charmed Kind of Life [2.17.13].:.[/url]
  • image BlinkingLight1:
    image +PuppyWuppy+:

    I don't feel judged, in fact, I figured some of you would blast me for getting onto her about how I reacted toward her @sshole behavior.

    Not at all! Being a mom is hard, and I can imagine being a step-mom is even harder. It's not your biological child AND you don't have any control as to what happens with that child when you're not there. 

    It's so disappointing when you plan a fun trip or day with your child and they act completely ridiculous. It's definitely happened to me plenty of times. I imagine us giggling and laughing and playing all day and then it ends up being the complete opposite. Sucks.

    I'm sorry the weekend wasn't what you were hoping :( 

    Has her mom ever taken her out of town to do something fun like this? Do you think the mom felt inferior when she found out you were going and then decided to plan the Disney trip? From what I remember you said SD was looking forward to Great Wolf, right?

    Difto to all of this.  Of course you and your H had to deal with the situation. If you're concerned about that coming from you rather than him then as long as you and your H are on the same page about how to handle it and who does what, then I consider it one and the same. That's how it works in my house (my opinions don't override Kevin's because we are a team). 

    Rwgarding the lisp, it is a normal development thing, but again, sounds like its not age appropriate for where she should be developmentally. Perhaps you guys can utilize some resources at her school to gauge if they are concerned about her speech development and see if they can help convince BM? I wouldn't be shocked if she's rejecting your suggestions because of the source only.  

     

  • image +PuppyWuppy+:
     And I am not sure how we say "Hey - quit going broke giving her everything she wants and get a life so that your whole life isn't wrapped up in doing what she wants." 

    If you figure this out, please please tell me how.

    I feel your pain.  I know you were looking forward to the trip, what a disappointment! 

    We've been through almost this exact situation, although not quite to the extent with the fits and tantrums.  I took SS to Silver Dollar City last spring break with my aunt and her kids and he would not ride any rides and insisted on playing games and eating all day.  After I spent the $100 on admission for the two of us.  To say I was pissed is an understatement.  H wasn't there, so I got to be the bad guy the whole trip (which as you know is 10x worse than the parent getting onto them).  SS has the crybaby game down pat, and it chaps my a$$ more than anything.

     

  • image WendyToo:
    image BlinkingLight1:
    image +PuppyWuppy+:

    I don't feel judged, in fact, I figured some of you would blast me for getting onto her about how I reacted toward her @sshole behavior.

    Not at all! Being a mom is hard, and I can imagine being a step-mom is even harder. It's not your biological child AND you don't have any control as to what happens with that child when you're not there. 

    It's so disappointing when you plan a fun trip or day with your child and they act completely ridiculous. It's definitely happened to me plenty of times. I imagine us giggling and laughing and playing all day and then it ends up being the complete opposite. Sucks.

    I'm sorry the weekend wasn't what you were hoping :( 

    Has her mom ever taken her out of town to do something fun like this? Do you think the mom felt inferior when she found out you were going and then decided to plan the Disney trip? From what I remember you said SD was looking forward to Great Wolf, right?

    Difto to all of this.  Of course you and your H had to deal with the situation. If you're concerned about that coming from you rather than him then as long as you and your H are on the same page about how to handle it and who does what, then I consider it one and the same. That's how it works in my house (my opinions don't override Kevin's because we are a team). 

    Rwgarding the lisp, it is a normal development thing, but again, sounds like its not age appropriate for where she should be developmentally. Perhaps you guys can utilize some resources at her school to gauge if they are concerned about her speech development and see if they can help convince BM? I wouldn't be shocked if she's rejecting your suggestions because of the source only.  


    She was very excited about GWL and even the mother emailed DH to tell him how excited she was which I took to be a very positive sign.  Her mother took her to Sea World last year and I guess she could have seen that as a way we were trying to "one up" her but that truly isn't the case - CLEARLY Sea World is a much better trip (well, I think so - I luv those dolphins!!!).  And regardless, if BM felt that way then...what does that have to do with SD acting like an a-hole the entire trip.  One of my friends said she would notice SD having a really good time, splashing around and acting crazy and then she would realize she was having fun and have a breakdown...so...I don't know.

    As far as Disney, SD mentioned it 100 times.  Do we feel one upped by that? No.  I finally said to SD "I am SO GLAD your mother wants to take you there because your father and I really hate that place and were worried you would be upset if we didn't take you there. This way, you get to go -yay! I am so glad for you!" She stopped after that which makes me wonder...does she know what she is doing?  Did she think DH and I would be like Well, if your mother is taking you to Disney then we are flying to Paris tonight? - I mean, seriously, WTF.  (and truly, we are so excited about the Disney thing - we really hate that place!!)

    It is just a sh!tty situation.

     

  • What happened after you told SD to shape up? Did it help any? Does she do any better if the correction comes from your H? I'm just wondering if she's pulled the "you're not my real mom and I don't have to listen to you!" line, is all.

    I think being a step-parent has got to be rough. Here's a kid that's kind of forced onto you, not by choice, and now you have to make the best of it - even though you didn't want kids to start with. That really is a very tough situation. 

    Are there any redeeming qualities about BM at all, or is she basically a lunatic on wheels? 

  • Ugh - I am SO SORRY! I can relate to you on so many levels. Reading through the comments, I could comment on almost every post, but I'll keep it sort of brief. :) 

    SD used to have a big problem with fits, too. Hers were never quite this bad (never any spitting, and never eight freaking times in one outing), but bad enough to be mortifying and infuriating.

    As you know, our situation is sort of similar - BM is obsessed with SD. Her entire world revolves around her daughter, and, while I'm sure she has good intentions, it's not healthy. She's more of a bestie than a mom. This leaves us with a SD who's used to being the center of attention all day, every day.

    A year or so ago, when SD was almost 6, her tantrums were at their worst. I finally sat down with H and said, 'this has got to stop.' It's always a difficult conversation, but I was able to make him see that her behavior was pretty bad and needed to be corrected. We started out by giving her a clear and consistent guideline: from this point on, every time she even threatened to throw a screaming, crying fit, she'd go to her room for an undetermined amount of time. SD does not do well on her own - she wants to be around us the entire time she's here - so this was the best punishment we could think of. 

    It really did the trick. It was tough, though. There were a few times when we were out and she threw a fit, and we dropped what we were doing to take her home for her alone time. She was *not* happy about it, but gradually the behavior disappeared. We hated doing it, because when SD is here, every minute feels valuable, since she's not here all the time. But, if you don't stick to the punishment, it'll never work. Also, H used to go in and comfort SD after her alone time was up. This may sound harsh, but I talked him out of doing that, too. We continued to talk to her about why she got into trouble, but there was no 'awww, it's alright,' b/c I think it sends a mixed message. 

    She'll be 7 next month, and I can't remember the last time she threw a fit. I'm not saying exactly this will work for you, and I know your visitation is different from ours, but it definitely helped us.

    Even though SD doesn't have full-blown tantrums, she has set consequences for other problem behaviors now (mostly talking back. oy.).  

    As for the BM thing, we tried to get her to follow a similar rule for discipline, and she seemed agreeable, but we know from SD that she hasn't followed through. We're now at peace with the idea that we're only in control of SD's behavior when she's with us. We can't worry too much about what she does while at BM's. It's great that she knows, at least while she's with us, that her actions have consequences. Hopefully that's improved her behavior at BM's too, but that's out of our control. I think the key is sitting your SD down and telling her what's going to happen, and then being very consistent and following through, every time. 

    I know how it feels to be one-upped, too. Ugh. BM took SD to Disneyland last year, and I thought we'd never stop hearing about it - even though we took her to Maine/New Hampshire that same summer (BM planned the Florida trip to one-up our already-planned trip). Sucks that you guys are doing your best to make memories with SD and it's not working out. It sounds like maybe BM is talking to SD about you guys during her time with her, and maybe that makes SD feel guilty if she has fun with you? (Luckily) I don't have firsthand experience with this, but I've read about it. I can't imagine any other reason a kid wouldn't love GWL.  


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  • Interestingly enough, DH sent me a long email last night about the situation.  Honestly, I kind of felt like I was the only one annoyed about this weekend and it appears that he is quite upset as well.

    We only get her one weekend a month and out of respect for BM and all the sh!t she pulled in the past, we didn't push to get more visitation, it was nice just to get to see her at all. As you parents are aware, one weekend a month isn't enough to have any sort of influence.

    Several things: She can't tie her shoes, BLOW HER NOSE, swim, and the lisp issue. DH pointed out that these are all things she should be able to do and should be learning at home but is not.  Hell, DH and I taught her how to read - she didn't even know her alphabet before she started PreK, DH taught her all of that.  So, anything that requires her mother to be a mother isn't happening. 

    The secondary issue is the massive fit throwing. DH doesn't feel comfortable reprimanding her because the situation now doesn't really allow him to be a "dad."  I can reprimand, I don't really care but at the same time, I get a little frustrated that I am constantly having to be the evil step mother.

    There are two options: 1. ignore the behavior or 2.force more visitation.

    While at the gym last night, DH and I talked about the email he sent me and he said "Here's the deal, if we have kids and she is continuing to act like this, she will not be welcome in our home. This whole thing is dysfunctional enough, I don't want her to think she can come in and act like that, it won't work."  That is clearly not a good attitude.

    So, I think we are going to force more visitation.

     

  • One weekend a month for a parent outside of extenuating (I.e. abuse) situations is completely ridiculous. The standard in OK now is 50/50 if the parents live close enough that school transportation is reasonable.  It is completely unfair for her mother to automatically be more of a parent than her father. 

    p.s. anything that results in greater than 120 nights per year should also alter child support agreements, because you then get credit for providing support during times she is with you.  

  • image WendyToo:

    One weekend a month for a parent outside of extenuating (I.e. abuse) situations is completely ridiculous. The standard in OK now is 50/50 if the parents live close enough that school transportation is reasonable.  It is completely unfair for her mother to automatically be more of a parent than her father. 

    p.s. anything that results in greater than 120 nights per year should also alter child support agreements, because you then get credit for providing support during times she is with you.  

    The 120 days thing doesn't apply in this situation because DH and BM live more than 70 miles apart (or maybe it is 75 miles, I am not sure). I don't really care about altering child support, I am over that, at this point, I am concerned about her being a decent human being and not getting pregnant out of wedlock.  Big Smile  BM doesn't have a pot to p!ss in and honestly, without the child support, I am not sure how they would eat. Granted BM works part-time but she is obviously not willing to work any harder than that but SD shouldn't have to suffer because her mother is a lazy @ss, KWIM?

  • I do get it, and honestly you don't have to pursue it, but sometimes it helps to have the leverage of what the law allows for to help convince an otherwise unreasonable person to come to a common agreement without having to go back to court. 
  • I think you should force more visitation.  And, before you convince yourselves that you don't have an influence on SD, let me tell you that my dad and stepmom had a major influence the person I have become (let's assume that's a good thing :)) even though they lived hours away and had limited visitation.  My mom was pretty much like your description of BM and I turned out nothing like her.

    How in the hell can she afford to take her to Disneyworld if she can't afford food?  Disney is not cheap.

  • image ostatekris05:

    I think you should force more visitation.  And, before you convince yourselves that you don't have an influence on SD, let me tell you that my dad and stepmom had a major influence the person I have become (let's assume that's a good thing :)) even though they lived hours away and had limited visitation.  My mom was pretty much like your description of BM and I turned out nothing like her.

    How in the hell can she afford to take her to Disneyworld if she can't afford food?  Disney is not cheap.

    Well, that is good to know! I am glad you turned out well!!

    As far as Disney - no clue.  SD kept going on and on about how hard they are saving.  I need to be careful how I say this but...there is no doubt in my mind she is getting $$$ elsewhere and I have a feeling I know who is giving it to her.  Or, she could be in a sh!tcan ton of cc debt, I don't know.  DH pays her quite a bit in child support (doubles her monthly income) but combined it would not support the life that they live.  Her financial situation isn't my problem or my concern. Until, of course, SD needs to go to college and BM can't contribute a thing...

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